By Kai-Chin Shih/ 18 MAY 2015/ TOKYOJAPAN/talkairlines.wordpress.com
The Airbus A350-900XWB is part of the China Airlines “NexGen (Next Generation)” Plan. For other articles, such as those on the new Boeing 777-300ER interiors and the new lounge at Taipei-Taoyuan Terminal 1, please click HERE.
UPDATE 11 APR 2016: China Airlines has released pictures of the Airbus A350-900XWB cabin interior design. Refer to [>talkinterior] China Airlines Reveals Airbus A350-900XWB Cabin Interiors.
(Updated 14 March 2016) On 16 May 2015, the Airbus A350-900XWB touched down on Taiwanese soil for the first time. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, first stop of the third A350 Around the World Tour, is the base of the sole A350 Taiwanese customer, China Airlines (CI). The Taiwanese national carrier will be taking delivery of its first A350 in July 2016 and receiving 14 of the type from 2016 to 2018.
For the A350 interiors, China Airlines has once again hired renowned Taiwanese architect Ray Chen as the chief designer. Chen, who previously designed the China Airlines 777-300ER (77W) cabin and new lounge at Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1, is famous for his modern interpretation of ancient Chinese art and architecture. His design of the CI 77W cabin, despite mixed views, was a breath of fresh air in the increasingly predictable aircraft interior industry. However, for the A350, Chen promised something even better.
Just like the 777, the A350 will have an interior with significant usage of persimmon grain textures. However, while interiors of the 777 is elegant and tranquil, that of the A350 will be quote-on-quote “cheerful” and “joyful”. The A350 cabin design is inspired by Modern Oriental elements, as opposed to the Ancient Oriental theme of the 777. The primary color scheme of the A350 cabin includes bright colors and touches of berry red and indigo. 777s, on the other hand, features dark shades of green and gold. Ray Chen stated that he has included 10 surprises on the A350 for the passengers to explore.
As for the hardware, the A350 will follow the 777 and feature a three-class layout, including 32 Premium Business Class seats (convertible to fully flat beds), 31 Premium Economy Class seats, and 243 Economy Class seats (including 12 Family Couch seats). There will be a total of 306 seats, with a 1-2-1 layout in Premium Business Class and 2-3-2 layout in Premium Economy Class. The Economy Class product will follow the Airbus “18-inch Industry Width Standard” and offer a wider 9-abreast 3-3-3 layout, as compared to the narrower 10-abreast on the 777. In Premium Business Class, there will be a “Sky Bistro”, a new version of the widely acclaimed Sky Lounge. The Sky Bistro will serve Tapas and other Tavern-style cuisine.
The following is a break-down of the hardware details:
- Premium Business Class
- 32 seats/ 1-2-1 abreast
- 78″ fully flat bed and 18″ PTV screen
- Equipped with Sky Bistro
- Premium Economy Class
- 31 fixed-back seats/ 2-3-2 abreast
- 20″ width and 39″ pitch
- Economy Class
- 243 seats including 12 Family Couch seats/ 3-3-3 abreast
- 18″ width and 32″ pitch
- Higher seat pockets and slimline seats contribute to spaciousness
Moreover, new boarding and embarking music will be played to provide “exclusive elegance” and enhance the contemporary urban style of the cabin. Scent specially created for China Airlines will add a fragrant touch to the passenger experience. Other special A350 elements include mood lighting, quieter cabins, larger windows, and larger overhead luggage compartments. The aircraft type will also have in-flight connectivity (Wi-Fi) supported by Ku band satellite disks.
Starting July 2016, China Airlines will receive 4 A350s in 2016, 6 in 2017, and 4 in 2018. The primary purpose of the A350 is to replace the fuel-guzzling A340-300. Beginning in December 2016, the A350 will gradually start serving the following long-haul routes:
- First Phase (Replacing Airbus A340-300 (excluding FCO/DEL, currently flown by Airbus A330-300), making all European routes nonstop, and upgrading European service products.)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Amsterdam-Schiphol (AMS) *Stopover at Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (BKK) to be halted
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Vienna (VIE)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Rome-Fiumicino (FCO) *Stopover at Delhi (DEL) to be halted *Taipei – Delhi route to be flown separately
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Vancouver (YVR)
- Second Phase (Replacing long-haul Airbus A330-300 and launching new destinations)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Seattle (SEA) (services halted since 2008)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Auckland (AKL) via Sydney (SYD)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Auckland (AKL) via Brisbane (BNE)
- Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE) to Honolulu (HNL) (some flights via Tokyo-Narita (NRT))
Besides the listed routes, the A350 will also be used on short-haul routes during daytime. It will be utilised to launch new destinations. As mentioned above, Seattle will be re-launched with the A350. Other cities under consideration for launching include London-Heathrow (LHR) (services halted since 2013), Milan-Malpensa(MXP), and one Spanish destination, Madrid (MAD) or Barcelona (BCN). With the expansion of its European network, China Airlines is also planning on codesharing with Lufthansa and fellow Skyteam member Air Europa while deepening ties with Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
We believe that the China Airlines Airbus A350-900XWB is definitely worthy of looking forward to and are extremely excited about its arrival. Hopefully there will be no delays regarding the delivery schedule and everything will progress on time. We will keep an eye on related news and keep you readers updated with the latest information!